Name: Jimmy Haviland
School: Missouri University of Science and Technology
Major: Computer Engineering
Co-op period: January 2016 – July 2016
What was the interview process like?
The process was very straight forward. I gave my resume to Megan Pieper at a career fair Missouri S&T was hosting, and she offered me an interview in the library the next day. I took a short aptitude test and answered some questions. I was later asked to come to St. Louis for a second interview where I met with Dave Voeller. He told me about some of the projects past coops have worked on, and we went over my resume. It was about a week or two after that when I received a call from Megan with the official co-op offer.
Most students just want some experience but they don't exactly know what type of experience they want. Please describe some of the work you did and what type of skills you needed. It is important to note what you could apply from school and what you learned on the job.
A lot of the work I did involved running tests on Hunter equipment and software, and troubleshooting whatever problems would arise. I came in with a basic understanding of object-oriented programming, computer networks, Windows operating system, and other Microsoft software. I learned a ton on the job about these topics. The other coops and full time employees were very helpful when I had questions. My intro C++ classes were enough to get me started with C#.
What experience do you think will be the most useful for you in the future?
Working for an engineering company and getting paid to do real engineering work has been one of the most helpful things so far in my education. It's been great to put what I've learned into action, and collaborating with other engineers has taught me a lot about communication.
How do you think the overall experience will help you in your career?
Hunter has given me a lot experience with different projects, and going forward I will be confident going into a variety of jobs. I've worked on software, hardware, and firmware. I've done testing, debugging, troubleshooting, research, and design. I've encountered many aspects of what it means to be a Computer Engineer.
How do you think the overall experience will help you in your next job interview?
I now have a ton of examples to refer to for any possible question I may be asked. I've worked alone, with a partner, and in a group setting. I have tangible results to point to when asked what I've accomplished. I feel more confident knowing all that I've done here.
What aspect of the work did you enjoy the most?
I enjoyed programming in C# a lot. I wrote several programs to help me run tests, gather data, and automate some of my work. I did a lot of research for these programs, and I learned a lot this way. I also enjoyed working with Hunter equipment and getting hands-on experience.
What aspect of the work did you not enjoy?
There is sometimes a lot of data to go through, but it isn't that bad once you get into a rhythm. I learned a lot about scripting and Excel this way, because I automated as much as I could. It takes doing things the long way to appreciate shortcuts.
Did you learn anything?
Yes. Programming (C#, XAML, windows forms, multi-threading, scripting, file manipulation, XML, version control/TFS), computer networking (TCP/IP, protocols, port-forwarding, Wireshark, network security, network cameras), photography (camera settings, light physics, trigonometry for aiming), and Windows (advanced operations, shortcuts, Excel tricks, debugging tools).
What was the dress code?
Business casual: dress pants, khakis, collared shirts, and nice shoes.
Student often want to know if they will work alone or in a group. Was the work you did more individual or group work and how does it compare with what you have done in school or at another job?
Some projects were delegated to me individually, but most were split between me and other coops. Some work is similar to the labs I had in school where I worked in a group; it's important to document everything that you do, record all of your results, and be methodical in your actions. Individual work felt like research projects I've done for other classes, with the added challenge of putting my knowledge into action rather than just writing a paper.
What are the pros/cons of working in Saint Louis? (Maybe compare it to other places you have been)
Pro: St. Louis is awesome. There's a lot to do downtown, and you're a short drive from rural areas. Go Blues.
Con: Traffic can be bad some days.
What were your living arrangements during co-op? This question is especially important for those that are not from St. Louis.
I am from St. Louis and I stayed with my parents. Other coops from out of town had no trouble finding places to live that were affordable.
How was the supervision?
Dave is a great boss. He's very helpful and friendly. You are not micromanaged, and you are free to work at your own pace. You're also given several projects to work on so it doesn't get mundane. Everyone emails a lot here, and quick questions via email are encouraged. Some work is more urgent and requires more supervision and feedback, but Dave generally checks in a few times per week.
Anything else you'd like to tell us about yourself, Hunter Engineering, the coop program or the work?
There was a steep learning curve, but it didn't take long to catch up and feel comfortable here. Hunter treats their employees well, and my coop experience gave me plenty of opportunities to learn and grow as an engineer.